Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This is part Basic text and part someone's experience with the NA program and their take on spirituality.

Recovery depends on the awakening and growth of spirituality, and our lives depend on our relationship with what we believe is the source. The Spiritual Tenets express some of our most basic ideas about spirituality in Narcotics Anonymous. They are the foundation upon which our Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service are built. They make possible our individual and collective surrender to, and dependence on a loving God of our own understanding. They are the keys to our freedom.

1.There are no "Good days" or "Bad days" there are just days.

In Narcotics Anonymous we live "Just for Today"; we acknowledge, and let go of, our painful pasts and trust the future to the care of a loving God. In recovery, absolutes lose their meaning; we find that all things in life are a mixture of good and bad, of positive and negative. We begin to look at the events and situations in our lives as opportunities or gifts from God; each one is of value and provides a chance for us to learn and grow. We believe that each day we are given a reprieve from our active addiction; and that it is only our attitudes and our actions that limit our recovery.

2.There is a spiritual power greater than any individual.

Personal power has proven to be a complete failure for us, human effort has not been able to cure our addiction or keep us from destroying ourselves, our only hope for salvation seems to lie in a spiritual power. Our Steps are designed to awaken, develop, and maintain a relationship between us and a Higher Power. When we use the term "God" we are referring to a spiritual power that is loving, caring, and greater than ourselves. This power has the ability to care for us, restore us to sanity, and set us free. We also believe that there is a "God of our Fellowship" that we each personalize according to our perceptions and beliefs; it is this God that protects our fellowship, helps it grow, and makes recovery possible for the addict who still suffers.

3.Faith is the key to our new way of life.

In recovery, we come to depend on a power greater than ourselves rather than our own resources. Faith is composed of belief, trust, and acceptance. Belief is the lowest form of faith, it is conceptualization. Trust is the application of belief in our lives, it is action based on what we believe. Acceptance is the highest form of faith, it is instinctive rather than conceptual. In recovery we reach a point where we no longer need to know the "why's" and "wherefore's"; our actions become appropriate without the need for conscious thought. Our instincts change from destructive and misguided to constructive and spiritually correct. Recovery is a natural way of life.

4.Narcotics Anonymous is a spiritual program, not a religion.

Spirituality is the relationship a person has with what they believe in. A religion presents a specific concept of a deity, a specific code of ethics, and a specific method. In N.A. we believe, unconditionally, that all members have a right to their own religious beliefs and concept of a higher power. N.A. is inclusive rather than exclusive. Each of us follows our own path based in spiritual principles; we believe in believing and have faith in faith. Our fellowship is based on learning how to apply spiritual principles in our daily lives; coming together for mutual support and care; and one addict helping another through sharing, sponsorship and service. Narcotics Anonymous recovery is something that happens within the individual; it is the way we live; we are Narcotics Anonymous.

5.Narcotics Anonymous is based on spiritual principles.

There are basic spiritual truths that are universally correct; they are not dependent on time, place, personality, or circumstance. "Our program is a set of principles, written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives." There are many spiritual principles expressed in our literature; honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the most basic and make change and growth possible for us. The active application of spiritual principles is the basis of recovery from the disease of addiction. "There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery, that is an attitude of indifference or intolerance towards spiritual principles."

6."True spiritual principles are never in conflict."

We believe in a loving God as our ultimate authority and as the source of spiritual principles. By definition, something that is universally correct can not be true sometimes and false at other times. One aspect of God is harmony, and there can be no disharmony or contradiction between principles that are spiritually centered or "God centered". Actions that are spiritually correct can not violate any spiritual principle; when our actions violate any spiritual principles, they are not spiritually correct. We utilize this basic truth as a guide for appropriate action and decision making in Narcotics Anonymous.

7."What goes around, comes around."

This program saying is an expression of the principle of reciprocity and is fundamental in our way of life. Recovery is a reciprocal experience: we get out of it what we put into it, we reap what we sow, people treat us the way we treat them, and the way we live determines the way we live. If we base our lives on dishonesty, disrespect, destructiveness, closed-mindedness, negativity, and selfishness then we will be miserable; if, on the other hand, we base our lives on honesty, respect, caring, willingness, open-mindedness, positive action, constructive effort, and love then we will be happy and at peace. A life based on the active application of spiritual principles is its own reward; we become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

8.Recovery is a spiritual journey.

"We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection." The purpose of our way of life is recovery from the disease of addiction. In order to achieve this we must grow spiritually. We often say "Work the Steps", by this we mean live the N.A. way; approach life by utilizing a set of directions based on spiritual principles. We change the way we live by following a new set of instructions, we do not change the instructions to fit the way we want to behave. We believe that we never fully complete the steps and that "Living the Program" means we apply the principles of recovery to every area of our lives on an ongoing basis.

9.Recovery is based on Divine Intervention.

When we share our experience, most of us relate a series of unplanned events that led us to find recovery in the Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous. We believe that these events did not happen by chance; but rather that they represent evidence of a loving God intervening in our lives. If we live by spiritual principles we are always given what we need and never given more than we can handle. This happens with such consistency that, in time, most of us find it had to deny the presence of a Higher Power working in our lives, and in the lives of other N.A. Members. As our ability to depend on God increases, God's presence in our lives increases. The degree to which we surrender our will and our life to the care of a loving God is equal to the extent to which we are freed of our disease and our self-destruction.

10.God works through people: "I can't, we can".

We call Narcotics Anonymous a "we" program, and believe that if we are left to our own devises we will continue to destroy ourselves. According to our literature, addiction is progressive, incurable, and fatal. We are powerless over our addiction; we cannot recover simply by our own power of will, we need each other. "An addict alone is in bad company" and isolation is a symptom of our disease; only by mutual support and interdependence do we recover. God works through each one of us once we surrender. We find we are given words beyond our understanding and talents beyond our ability. We express our trust in God by depending on each other; and by caring for each other we are offering ourselves as an extension of God's grace and love. "One addict can best understand and help another addict."

11.Recovery is a series of surrenders.

"Surrender means that we do not have to fight anymore." The internal battles that have raged within us for many years are set aside in our recovery. We are free to become who we are and no longer have to live in contradiction to our inner nature. We begin to recover by letting go of the contradiction between the reality of our addiction and the illusion that we are in control of our using and our lives. Surrender is inherent in each of our Steps; and each time we consciously work a Step we make another surrender. Each time we surrender it goes a little deeper and the burden is lightened a little bit; ongoing spiritual growth implies an ongoing series of surrenders and the search for a better relationship with God.

12.The promise of recovery is freedom.

In Narcotics Anonymous we are given a choice and a chance to be free of active addiction and the limitations of self-obsession, self-hate, and self-destruction. We often talk about a choice, but sometimes forget that there is more than one choice. When we deny an addict the right to reject our way of life, then we also deny them the opportunity to choose our way of life and have a chance to recover. Recovery and freedom are not automatic; they are contingent on our choice, our commitment, our courage, our willingness, and our ability to apply spiritual principles in our daily lives. We never have to use again against our will; we can be free.

Thank You for My Life!